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Teaching business ethics in China Robert Shaw Graduate School of Business Guangdong University of Foreign Studies 2nd International Symposium on Corporate.

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching business ethics in China Robert Shaw Graduate School of Business Guangdong University of Foreign Studies 2nd International Symposium on Corporate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching business ethics in China Robert Shaw Graduate School of Business Guangdong University of Foreign Studies 2nd International Symposium on Corporate Responsibility & Sustainable Development

2 Agenda 1.Business ethics in the West 2.Business ethics in China 2

3 1 Business ethics education in the West 3 New topics New aims Research is becoming more profound

4 The purpose of Business Schools 4 About half the Business Schools in the West emphasise ethics Who decides the curriculum? Produce employable graduates, honest workers Business ethics is the battle ground Example: Entrepreneurship

5 Misunderstandings about business ethics 5 Ethics is about what people ought to do Contrast with science Contrast with the law If you want to know how to get people to obey the law, ask the police, criminologists, psychologists, sociologists Business ethics courses will not make people more honest, nor should they try to do this

6 Is this book about business ethics? 6

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8 Is moral development theory about ethics? 8 How children become mature moral adults Stage theories of moral development Cognitive development

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11 How does the law relate to business ethics? 11 Is business ethics not just a matter of obeying the law? Most of the cases of dishonesty in the news are not of much interest to those with a serious interest in ethics If you want to know how to get people to obey the law, ask the police, criminologists, psychologists, sociologists Ethics appears in two places in relation to the law Policy and the formulation of laws The use of discretion

12 Discretionary justice 12 Kenneth Culp Davis Professor in Administrative Law University of Chicago Discretion is a tool, indispensable for the individualization of justice … Rules alone, untempered by discretion, cannot cope with the complexities of modern government and modern justice The mechanical application of a rule means injustice … what is needed is individualised justice

13 Discretionary justice 13 There is always a gap between a rule and its application – discretion This theory is not just about the law Applying rules = implementing policy A course for chief executives Research on rules involves The philosophy of language Universals / particulars Free will / determinism

14 Traditional topics in business ethics 14 The subject business ethics appeared in the 1960s Topics: Employee dishonesty Codes of conduct Fair working conditions - health and safety Respect for other cultures The horrors when corporations are caught lying Monitoring Taking and giving bribes Child labour in foreign countries Whistle blowing Workplace rights - drug testing, surveillance The joys of corporate social responsibility

15 Topics in business ethics 15 New problematics: Social justice –distribution of wealth Economic theory – neoliberalism Capitalism & socialism Democracy & other systems Corporations & morality The effect of technology on society Ethics of cyberspace Eco-phenomenology Human rights Indigenous rights – land rights, cultural harvest Animal rights Open access to data/science/government information

16 The new business ethics 16 Ethics in as it appears in Public policy Economics Social theory Political theory Methods of critical analysis Draws upon the discipline of philosophy

17 The aims of business ethics 17 The goal – courses To discuss what people ought to do Moral dilemmas Scholarship The goal – students Develop decision-making skills To make better decisions [& act differently] Scholarship

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19 Business ethics courses – a tradition of 2,500 years 19 Parmenides & Kant – rationality Aristotle – flourishing & codes of ethics Kant –moral autonomy & deontology Bentham & Mill –utilitarianism

20 The aims of business ethics courses 20 Moral autonomy The moral person / leader / manager is EITHER Heteronomous – follows rules ORAutonomous – independent in thought and action Kant:If you are morally autonomous, you Make your own decisions Do so rationally Have strength-of-will, act as you decide

21 Influences on business ethics courses 21 University teachers teach what they research

22 The scholar practitioner 22 What is the basis of policy? The British Treasury in the early 1900s SP applies to government business

23 2 Business ethics education in China 23

24 2 Business ethics education in China 24

25 2 Business ethics education in China 25

26 2 Business ethics education in China 26

27 2 Business ethics education in China 27

28 2 Business ethics education in China 28

29 2 Business ethics education in China 29

30 2 Business ethics education in China 30

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32 Ethics advances in China Rothlin B (2004) Becoming a Top-Notch Player: 18 rules of international business ethics (In Chinese) Rules and critical thinking

33 What I see in China 33 80% of businesses small or medium Nationalism Values Pride Confidence Unity Localisation = National self-determination Identity Openness to ideas The Chinese way Role of leadership

34 Approaches to business 34 C0mpetitition Capitalism Stakeholders Community Truth/Virtue

35 The way ahead 35

36 My personal suggestions for China 36 Throw away the Western textbooks Bring Chinese and Western philosophers into critique Build on existing ethics courses Understand about case studies Relate business ethics to Chinese theories of management Support Chinese scholarship / research Address the evil of examinations

37 Thank you ww.gdufs.biz 2nd International Symposium on Corporate Responsibility & Sustainable Development


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